You might not know it, but the air quality in your office is a factor in helping to maintain the health of your staff and their productivity.
Contaminants are spreading into the air continually. Pollutants like dust, mould and fungi, plus the millions of bacteria growing in places that are often missed at cleaning time, can all be health threats. Gaseous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the more general effects of a large group of people in close proximity, all expelling carbon dioxide, can add to office air pollution.
According to the Department of the Environment, eye irritation, headaches, tiredness, shortness of breath and coughing, allergies, and even nausea are all symptoms of poor air quality. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found levels of carbon dioxide, VOCs and ventilation in an office can also affect performance.
The scientific solution – plants
As well as proper ventilation and air conditioning, scientific research has discovered that indoor plants can be helpful in promoting cleaner indoor air.
NASA’s Clean Air Study, widely seen as key research, identifies around 50 plants that are able to filter pollutants of various kinds.
Examples of plants that can purify the air
Palms, including the areca palm, lady palm, bamboo palm and the dwarf date palm, are in the top ten for filtering out benzene and formaldehyde. These are decorative plants that like indoor offices, which are shaded but still have sufficient light through windows.
The rubber plant is an excellent filtering plant, coming in at number four along with dracaena and philodendron, with ficus alii, Boston fern and the peace lily rounding out the ten best indoor plants for improved air quality.
Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, English ivy, the staghorn fern and aloe vera also make the list.
Like all indoor plants they need care and attention — from wiping and spraying the leaves to regular fertilising and watering.
Important considerations for overall office cleanliness
While plants can help purify the air, it’s important to remember that your office cleaning regime is also key to creating a pleasant and productive environment for your staff. Keeping the office spick and span is a job for professional office cleaning services. Look for one that uses modern technology and highly trained operators to make sure that your office is properly cleaned on a regular basis. A wipe over, vacuum and dust isn’t always enough to keep things hygienic!